Cash, If I Were Rich (October 9, 1933)
Released on October 9, 1933: A Great Depression Era classic from Britain originally named "Cash," about the wealthy, and the 'used-to-be' wealthy, and their adventures in the new world of the Great Depression.
Directed by Zoltan Korda
Written by Anthony Gibbs, Dorothy Greenhill and Arthur Wimperis.
The Actors: Edmund Gwenn (Edmund Gilbert), Wendy Barrie (Lilian Gilbert), Robert Donat (Paul Martin), Morris Harvey (Meyer), Lawrence Grossmith (Joseph, butler), Clifford Heatherley (Hunt), Hugh E. Wright (Jordan), Anthony Holles (Inspector), Noel Birkin (bit part).
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October 9, 1933 - almost four years after the disastrous New York Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the resulting economic Great Depression, in Britain the wealthy have also lost much of their wealth, and liquid assets . . . 'Cash' . . . is in very short supply. This is the tale of a once wealthy businessman and his lovely daughter, who are accustomed to great wealth, but are reduced to writing bad checks for food, and a young man that has the job of shutting off their electricity because they cannot pay their bills. Oh, did I mention that they find a huge stash of American CASH? How will the huge pile of 'found' money affect them? In strange and amazing ways this comedy about cash and how it affects different people in a time when cash is rare. This movie was originally named 'Cash,' and that is the best title for this adventure, and it is definately the overpowering theme of this poverty era feel-good film.
Our movie opens in the mansion of Edmund Gilbert, played by 'Santa Clause' from The Miracle on 34th Street Santa Clause Edmund Gwenn. With him are his daughter and his butler, and they sneak a peek out the window to see who is knocking. They determine that it is not a bill collector, so they open the door. Unfortunately a bill collector follows the man inside and he sticks a large poster on the wall declaring their debt, and they cannot remove it legally. Edmund is horrified because he has invited several money men over for drinks in the hopes of getting them to invest some of their money into a venture that he has thought up. Next, one of the money men calls and says that they can have dinner with Edmund instead of just drinks. Edmund is now in a deeper pickle . . . he has no food to serve, and no money to buy food. So he does what any good businessman would do, he writes a bad check to the grocer for the makings of a fine dinner.
Next, before the guests arrive, another collector pops in, this time with plans to shut off the electricity if the bill is not immediately paid. Along with the electric company man is a young assistant who will actually do the deed of shutting off the power. When they cannot pay the man, he leaves his assistant with the task of shutting off the power, but before the young man shuts off the power, he lets the daughter know that he likes her. As the young man gets ready to shut off the power, the daughter pulls at his tool chest to stop him, and it opens and out tumbles one hundred thousand dollars of hard, cold cash. The man decides to turn it in to the police, and get a reward for it, but father Edmund convinces him to stay for dinner, and flash the cash in front of the money men that Edmund is going to pitch for a new business venture, just to get the wheels moving. The young man agrees, if he can have fifty percent of the money that Edmund hopes to make from the venture.
So begins a great tale of cash, wealth and prosperity in a time when most men are weary, broke and despondent. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with extra amounts of warm melted butter, and get ready to forget about your daily cares and worries, and enjoy an hour with cash, lots of fresh, cold, hard CASH!